GROUP DISCUSSION

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To Sustain India’s Scientific & Technological Breakthrough, Brain Drain Must Be Banned

 

INTRODUCTION
Among the battery of personality tests, the Group Discussion Test is the most important and popular one. This technique at once enables the examiner to assess the leadership levels and personality characteristics of all the candidates constituting the group and undergoing the Group Discussion Test at one and the same time. Thus, as matiy as 12 candidates can be evaluated and assessed simultaneously in about 20 to 25 minutes. In no other personality field- test, so many individuals can be reliably tested within this short span of time. It is obvious that if these candidates were to be individually interviewed or otherwise tested for die same purpose, it may easily take six to eight hours.
Secondly, the candidates are tested when they are busy in action and when they expose their natural personality traits with utmost spontaneity. The nature of the test is such that no candidate can put on a mask for any length of time during the test. Above all, the Group Discussion Test also enables the examiner to compare each candidate with the rest in the group, besides obtaining the matrix references of the participants. Thus, the individual’s assessment of the examiner can be cross-checked with the preferences of the candidates themselves.
RATIONALE”
Maximum advantage from this test can be derived when the same is applied as a leaderless group task. No one will be designated or appointed officially as the leader, chairman, speaker or president for the Group Discussion exercise. The examiner will announce the subject, briefly explain the guidelines or rules and thereafter retire from the scene. He will not in anyway participate, intervene or interfere with the deliberations of the group when it is engaged in the task of carrying out the discussion.
As we all know, it is not possible for any group or team consisting of two or more people to accomplish a common task or goal without the help of a leader or a coordinator. In the absence of an appointed leader, those in the group with natural leadership abilities will automatically come forward to fill the vacuum. There could be competition and rivalries among those who wish to assert themselves as leaders. The successful leader will be able to overcome all obstacles and opposition and help the group complete the discussion within the given time frame.
PRESENTATION ~
We are presenting to our readers the tape recorded version of a ‘live’ Group Discussion conducted at CSR Careers & Courses wing. The expert comments of the examiners have been incorporated at the right places to enable correct appreciation of the proceedings, operation and evaluation. This group consists of eight candidates of similar age level, educational qualifications and background experience. The exercise being a friendly and informal exchange of views, every candidate has the freedom to say what he feels Mke, as and when he does. The group has full liberty to form any additional rules if it so desires.
The time allowed for the discussion is 25 minutes. To facilitate easy recognition and identification, the candidates have been requested to address or refer to one another by die roll or chest number allotted to each candidate. After announcing the subject and launching the group on its task, the examiner has retired from the scene and the group is left to proceed with the discussion on its own.
_     PROGRESS
In the presence of the examiner, die candidates are a bit tense and maintain total silence. But once he retires from the scene, the candidates feel somewhat relaxed. The silence is broken and replaced by low whispers, asides, cross­talks and murmured conversations among the group members. However, before the whispers and asides could gain any momentum, No. 4 intervenes in a hurry.
No. 4 : Hello folks, I mean you all. I want to request, what I mean is that T would like to say something. You see the time is very short. We must start the discussion widiout any waste of time. We must start with No. 1. Now No. 1, please come on, you speak. After you No. 1, it will be the turn of No. 2, No. 3 and so on. Now please start No. 1.
No. 2 : Hold on, hold on No. 4, what are you saying? I cannot make head or tail ot whatever you are proposing. My first problem is the subject itself which I think is quite confusing. In my view there is some catch somewhere in it. It is better we look at it a littie more closely.
No. 4 : (Seems somewhat taken aback and upset. He also looks rather confused) Catch! What do you mean by catch? Anyway, let us not worry now and waste time about catches. When we discuss the subject we may find out your catch, if any. In the meantime, I suggest that each of us speak for two minutes in the second round also.
No. 2 : I say No. 4, what is wrong with you? Why don’t you listen to what I say ? I told you that I don’t understand the subject. I mean it has some hidden implications. How can one talk without knowing the subject and understanding its meaning?
No. 6 : (Intervening at this stage) It looks as if No. 4 has some ideas after reading the model Group Discussion Tests and he might also have undergone some coaching. Therefore, now he is attempting to establish himself as the leader. What do you say, No. 7?
No. 7 : (Does not answer but maintains a stoic silence.)
No. 4 : Okay, okay, No. 6, I heard you. So what? I only made a request to you all. What is wrong with that?
No. 2 : Every damn thing is wrong. I told you there is some catch somewhere. The subject sounds funny. Unless we know the secret, we all will fail.
No. 4 : (He is totally taken aback by this direct attack from No. 2. He does not know how to proceed further. At this stage, No. 5 takes over.)

No. 5 : No. 2, I take it that you feel that the subject, as given to us has some hidden meaning and that we should not accept it on its face value. Do I understand you correctly?

No, 2 : (Appears relieved) Yes, Sir. You are very right. Sir. That is exactly what I meant when I said there was some catch somewhere. The subject sounds phoney. Only when there are brains the question of drain will arise. Where are the brains? And there is also the question of giant economic growth, breakthrough, etc. We are not talking about price hike or inflation but of swift growth.
No. 5 : Okay, let us examine. Let me repeat the subject as announced by the examiner and let us all take a look at it. The subject reads : “To Sustain India’s Scientific & Technological Break­through, Brain Drain Must Be Banned”.
No. 2 : You see, can we cry a halt to the brain drain by merely banning it ?
No. 5 : (Smiles) Well, No. 2, you have a point there. This is what the examiner wants us to discuss. The subject is definitely controversial and it has been deliberately worded in such a way that there will be doubts and controversies. You see, such controversies will provoke a lively discussion. Many others may not agree to the subject like you. But some of us may agree. Some may argue that brain drain is not escalating. Some may even say there are no brains and hence, no drain also. But others may say that all the bright brains from our country are being drained away by foreign countries like America, England, Germany and so on. The best thing to do is to discuss the subject and allow each candidate to air his opinion. Shall we then proceed on the lines suggested by No. 4 ? No. 1, would you kindly take the floor and set the ball rolling?
No. 1 ; One moment please. 1 am afraid you must excuse me. You see brain drain and all that, in my view, is more of a science subject. No. 2 already told us it has some hidden meaning. If you permit me, therefore, I would like to listen to others first before venturing to air my opinion.
No. 5 : It is perfectly all right No. 1. You do not have to worry. You are welcome to speak whenever you are ready. Now we can perhaps move on to No. 2.- What do you say, No. 2 ? Would you like to open the discussion?
No. 2 : No man, I better not. I still feel the subject is not all that straight. May be my fears are unfounded, but they are there. I suggest we request for volunteers and those, who volunteer, can be given the choice to speak first.
No. 5 : Very good. It is a nice idea and we shall try after checking up with No. 8 whether he has any objection to be the opening speaker. We can then proceed anti-clockwise, i.e., after 8, we can move to Nos. 7, 6, 5 and so on. In diat case, No. 1 and yourself, will be speaking towards the closing stages of
WINNING STRATEGY
he optimist sees the doughnut. But the pessimist sees the hole.
the first round. Let us find out from No. 8. What do you say, No. 8 ?
No. 8 : Thank you No. 5. I am always at your service. If it is okay with everybody in the group, I will be only too happy to be the opening speaker.
No. 5 : There you are friends, may I have your approval pleasc? (Nos. 1, 2, 4 and 7: Yes, yes. Come on, No. 8). (Others do not cotnment and their silence has been taken as approval. No. 8 starts the discussion by presenting his views as the opening speaker.)
Comments : No. 4 takes the plunge and wants to junction as the leader and coordinator. Hut he lacks originality, ideas and resourcefulness. He is a poor imitation. He has not grasped the essentials. Hence, he flops badly. He is unable to overcome the obstacles created by No. 2. As one of the candidates had pointed out he has perhaps read about the Group Discussion proceedings without really and fully understanding its intricacies. No. 2 raises the banner of revolt against No. 4, but fails to make any constructive contribution of his own. He is not sure of himself and is haunted by unnecessary doubts. He is extremely hesitant and cautious and applies the brakes all the time. He wastes the opportunity offered to him to be the opening speaker. No. 1 is a dull and insipid candidate, devoid of ideas. He refuses to serve as the opening speaker and offers lame excuses. Another candidate who prefers to maintain silence in spite of being invited expressly to offer his comments is No. 7. The extent of participation by No. 6 is marginal, but he reveals interest and follows the proceedings closely. He seems to be an intelligent and informed observer as he is able to judge No. 4 with fair accuracy. In contrast, we find No. 5 to be the Hvewire and chiej coordinator oj the group. Initially, when Nos. 4 and 1 are quite eager to take the jloor, he discreetly remains in the background as an interested and imaginative observer. When he finds that Nos. 4 and 2 are at loggerheads and others in. the group are unable to resolve the problem, he steps in to take over the leadership and responsibility with complete assurance and self confidence. We find him well informed and endowed with ideas and resourcefulness. He tackles first No. 2 ivith tact and imagination. After deftly pointing out through proper clarifications that the fears of No. 2 are unfounded, he gives some encouragement to No. 4 and asks No. 1 to jump into action. Unfortunately, No. 1 refuses to act and poses another problem. ‘The problem becomes complex and complicated when No. 2 not only refuses to start the ball rolling but suggests also that the group go in for volunteers. But No. 5 is not dismayed or disheartened. He persists with syal and determination. He tries with No. 8 and meets with instant success. Once again we find No. 5 carrying the group with him by seeking its approval for the fi,nal course of action decided upon by him. The group fully endorses his decision. As for No. 8, we find that he is ready to accept the responsibility. At a critical stage, he lends excellent suppoti to No. 5.
No. 8 : Gentlemen, let us understand what is implied by the phrase ‘brain drain’. I would like to explain it in the layman’s language. As you all know that many Indian doctors, engineers, scientists and other specialists after acquiring their initial professional qualifications or degrees in India migrate to other countries, may be with the view to obtain higher qualifications or seek job opportunities—lucrative or otherwise. Next, generally they do not return to India but prefer to stay abroad and work in other countries. Thus, their services as professional experts are not directly available to our people and country. Since our Government invests huge amounts in their education, we suffer a great loss and get no return for our heavy investment. The presence of these top brains will certainly help our developmental efforts and growth. We can reap immense benefits in scientific, industrial, technological, medical and defence areas, if they are available to us. Hence, brain dram, on the face of it, is definitely harmful. However, both in the realm of higher technical and specialised education as well as in job procurement, the reservation policy followed by successive Governments of any hue, with an eye on “vote-bank”, has led to this so-called “Brain Drain”. Isn’t it a fact, that a General Category student with 90% marks is denied an Engineering or Medical seat whereas an SC/ST candidate “with as low as 35-40% marks is accommodated ? It is really demoralising. In the present scheme of reservation, merit has been consigned to back-burner and  only         caste
considerations outweigh everything else. Our political leadership, while pushing ahead with such counter-productive measures for instant gains, is unable to understand their long-term impact on the country’s vast talent pool. In any case, if jobs are dished out to people on the basis of their communal or caste identity instead of qualification and merit, it is impossible to stop brain drain. Further, plans to reserve jobs for SC/ST and Other Backward Classes in private sector are also in die pipeline. Same is true of job opportunities in public sector as well. Either jobs are not available at all or are offered at abysmally low scales totally incommensurate with the applicant’s professional attainments. Nor are available for the realty meritorious and research-minded professionals. Our R&D expenditure is abysmally low as compared to other developing countries like China. So, what if Indian professionals choose to stay abroad ? Unless India adopts meritocracy, gets rid of nepotism, corruption and the scourge of “reservation”, I don’t think we should make our technical expertise rot at home as captives. Provide them adequate research and training facilities at home as also jobs commensurate with their merit and qualifications, then and only then, we can stop the so-called brain drain.
Comments : No. 8 reveals good grasp of the subject and the ability to marshal his ideas in the proper sequence or order and present it to his listeners in an interesting and effective manner. He has an open mind and his approach is flexible. He proceeds in a systematic and methodical manner indicating good organising ability. Since he readily accepts responsibility and makes up his mind firmly, he can be regarded as sound in the dynamic sphere. With his objectivity, rational arguments and friendly conduct he has succeeded in creating a favourable impact on the group. Thus, socially he enjoys the ability to motivate and influence others. He could be recommended for selection.
No. 7 : Friends, first of all let me thank our friend No. 8 for explaining so lucidly the meaning and scope of the subject. T must also say that he has dispelled the fears that the subject is loaded or rigged. I mean that it has got some catch somewhere. No. 8 has made it clear that there is no trap. I fully agree with his views and approach. Being the second speaker, I have pleasure in seconding him wholeheartedly. My humble submission is that We should not be swayed b)r emotions or carried away by the views of some half-baked politicians. We have to import machinery and essential raw material to sustain and enhance our industrial growth.. You will agree that the flow of petrodollars remitted by our brethren working in West Asian and Western countries has helped us a lot. Therefore, we should accept that there are some advantages in the brain drain also. You cannot say brain drain is completely harmful. As it is, there is unemployment, particularly among the educated people, in our country. More and more people will be coming out of the universities and, therefore, I feel that you should not worry too much about this so-called brain drain. It is a political catchword to get votes during the elections by befooling people. In fact, it is the politicians who, as righdy pointed out by No. 8, are responsible for brain drain resulting from “unending and ever expanding” reservation umbrella.
SUCCESS IN GROUP DISCUSSION
JL he ideal strategy to groom oneself into leadership is to keep cool, despite the gravest provocation, and learn the inimitable tact of bringing together people with different temperaments, helping them come out with their own ideas, and then hammering out a consensus. A Group Leader is indeed a leader in the making in careers and the life beyond. The mark of leadership will be manifest wherever he turns up just because he has all the ingredients that go to make the stuff of leadership : initiative, intelligence, patience, tolerance, crisis management, tact, the faculty of speech that has the innate quality of being listened to without anyone daring to interrupt. Leaders are bom, but a few can grow to be leaders by systematic practice.
Comments : This candidate has at last- broken his silence and spoken at length. But he has not made any original or substantive contribution. He has merely echoed whqt was said by No. 8 in different words. Thus, the ideas of the candidate seem limited. Though he has understood the subject he is unable to make meaningful personal contribution to resolve the problem successfully or help his team in gaining its goal. No doubt, he enjoys the gift of the gab in good measure and speaks fluently and confidently. But these are not adequate to impress and convince the audience. Since basic intelligence and ideas seem to be limited it is doubtful whether he can function as an effective leader. Atpresent, he can be regarded as a borderline case. He can be considered if he improves his performance in a positive manner during the rest of the session.
No. 6 : Comrades, I want to be very blunt, let me say brutally frank and forthright with you. It is absolutely fantastic, to say the least, for people to argue that brain drain can be advantageous. It is a capitalist argument. Engineers, doctors and others who leave our country and setde down in America or other affluent countries are not real patriots. They are abandoning their parents, brothers and sisters. Nobody can run away from the motherland. They are very selfish and they want to stay abro’ad because they earn fat incomes. We in India are rotting in poverty all the more because we have wasted our money in giving them the education and training. When die top scientists and technologists fun away to other countries, who will serve our country? If they stay in India, their services can be hired at a high cost by the other countries who need them. The late Subramanian Chandrasekhar, Dr. Hargobind Khorana and the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Dr. Venkatraman llamakrishnan are most notable of them. We, however, pride ourselves upon die fact that they were born and brought up in India. We even confer upon them the most prestigious awards. For example, Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was conferred Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2010. In 2013 also the Government of India has awarded Padma Bhushan to Prof. Satya N, Atiuri who is a US citizen. Why do we do so ? If they have left the country simply to mint money, we should not praise and honour them. After all, they have preferred to stay away because of personal gain. They have forgotten that their country had to invest a lot of money to educate them. It is, therefore, absolute falsehood to tell us that brain drain has some advantages..
Comments : ‘This candidate speaks with emotion and excitement and to a certain extent indulges in soap-box oratory. Nevertheless, he displays original ideas, sincerity and succeeds in making a strong impact on his listeners. He has also shown courage and intellectual integrity to differ with the previous two speakers and express his differing views boldly. His grasp is good and earlier we saw th’at his power of observation and judgement is sound. He must get the benefit of doubt and should be given a chance. Recommended for selection.
No. 5 : Friends, the subject given for our discussion implies that brain drain has become a serious problem and has reached a stage where it should be stopped. It has not been said anywhere diat brain drain was beneficial. It is only an assumption by some of us. It may not be correct. Let us assume for a moment that brain drain is inevitable. I say this because the scientists, technologists, specialists and others are more interested in doing research and resolving the various problems posed by science and technology. They are not so much bothered about their personal earnings and comforts. They are only concerned with the facilities available for research. They will automatically like to go to that particular place where such facilities exist for research. Let us,
therefore, examine why and how brain drain occurs and whether it is peculiar to India only. Next, we can also examine if brain drain from India constitutes the maximum and if so consider the underlying causes for the same. First, as you all know, many of our scientists, doctors, engineers and so on go abroad only for higher studies to start with. They have to go abroad because we do not have enough seats, even for the meritorious due to ill-conceived reservation policy, available to satisfy the needs of all. Thus, many deserving people may not be admitted for research into our institutions or get jobs commensurate with their academic or professional status. Secondly, the scope and facilities available in advanced countries are definitely superior. Therefore, it is better that our countrymen get admission in fair competition against other nationals from other developing countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, etc., and get admitted in America or Germany.. Our friend mentioned about the late Subramanian Chandrasekhar, Dr. Hargobind Khorana and Dr. Venkataraman Chandrasekhar. I am sure, they could not have carried out their research in India, because we did not have the facilities here. And you all know that other great Indian scientists abroad have not forgotten their motherland. In the ‘hour of need they will come back to their own country sacrificing everything. Further, our NRIs have lent significant financial support to India through “Resurgent India Bonds” floated by the BJP-led NDA Government in 1998 and later. We know we can depend on them. Thus, you can see there are some advantages in this so-called brain drain. In order to fulfil their emotional attachment to India, we celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in January every year where eminent NRIs are honoured. On January 8, 2010 Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had expressed the hope that Indians living abroad would be able to vote in the next general elections. He had called their voting right a legitimate one responding to the frequent plea made by the members of his Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians. In 2013, Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan focussed on Gulf NRIs who constitute the lion’s share of 25-million strong Indian diaspora and accounted for 27% of nearly $70-billion remittance that India was receiving in 2012. At the conclave, Hon’ble President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee said that investments by overseas Indians were vital for the Indian economy to return to its 8% growth levels achieved in six out of the last nine years. The accelerated growth of
WINNING THE FIRST IMPRESSION
JL he participants in a Group Discussion must possess not only the gift of gab, but a thorough understanding of the subject on which they are expected to speak. Since the topic likely to be given is anybody’s guess, it pays for every participant to familiarise himself with the most important topics under current affairs. The best way to keep oneself abreast of the latest developments is to read daily newspapers, select magazines and watch the news and discussions on TV.
the Indian economy for six years since 2004 was also accompanied by the rise in investment rate. He urged the NRIs to help in the process of growth by investing in Indian companies and establishing new ventures and added that the yield of Indian equity markets was amongst the highest in the world. The theme of the 2013 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was “Fjngaging Diaspora—The Indian Growth Story”. Mr. Rajkeswar Purryag, President of Mauritius, was the Chief Guest and the keynote address was delivered by Mr. K.V. Thomas, Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs. There is no dearth of software engineers in the country. So why cocoon our talent? Let’s also not forget the valuable role of Indian diaspora in bringing the USA and India nearer and cementing economic and technical bilateral ties by their overwhelmingly big contribution in Silicon Valley of the USA as well as in other countries. With more allocation on R&D, India stands to gain a lot through BPO and by encouraging our ambitious professionals to migrate to other countries to enrich themselves with advanced research facilities and take up lucrative jobs there. In this present period of global slowdown, Indian economy has shown very positive traits. As per newspaper reports, on April 16,. 2013 the International Monetary Fund was led to cut its forecast for the advanced economies to 1.2 percent for 2013 on account of a more subdued oudook for both the United States and Eurozone. On the contrary, the Indian economy has been projected to grow by 5.7 percent in 2013 and by 6.2 percent in 2014. The IMF forecast is always taken seriously by all across the globe. I am sure, when we’ have absorbing capacity for the deserving with attractive perks, there would not be any brain drain.
Comments : This candidate displays remarkable originality, extensive knowledge and excellent persuasive ability. With the emotional speech of No. 6, this candidate had a difficult task to convince the group of his differing views. However, he has accomplished this difficult task with astounding success. He views the problem analytically and objectively with self confidence
and succeeds in producing workable solutions. We find No. 5 is the chief coordinator and leader of the group. He is able to win others to his way of thinking by his example, conduct and persuasiveness. He is easily the outstanding
No. 4 : Friends, well, I am afraid l am rather confused on this subject. First I thought like No. 8. Then after listening to No. 6,1 felt brain drain is bad. Finally, I feel No. 5 has explained it very correctly. Perhaps, it is better to have a controlled brain drain. I mean the Government should decide who should be allowed to go abroad. I hope you all understand what I say. May be I am confusing you. I think we should generally agree with No. 5. That is all.
Comments : No. 4 lacks originality. His perception is limited and thinking quite confused. He has not grasped the essentials of theproblem. He is unable to overcome the obstacles and challenges. Rejected.
No. 3 : Gentlemen, I am a supporter of No. 6. I endorse his views that brain drain is totally harmful and cannot lead to any benefits. It is sheer hypocrisy to talk of benefits from brain drain. It is not worth talking about. No patriotic Indian should tolerate brain drain. I can’t imagine our brains helping foreign countries to exploit India. But that is what happens with brain drain. Let us stop it once and for all.
Comments : No original and positive contribution. A rigid and withdrawn candidate. He cannot prove flexible and accommodating. He lacks the ability to understand others. Narroiv-minded and self-opinionated with limited ideas. Rejected.
No. 2 : Gentlemen, our friends, especially Nos. 8 and 5, have taken the stand that the subject can be interpreted on its face value. I hope they are right. But as I said I have my own fears and reservations. It is foolish to take risks and prove yourself a fool when you know that things are phoney. I think it is safer to refrain from making comments. You must excuse me, please.
Comments : A shallow and diffident individual who does not know his own mind. He cannot come to a firm decision. Rejected. No. 1 is also a dull, insipid person and is devoid of ideas. He shirks responsibility. Since he lacks both imagination and efforts, he will be a burden to the team and organisation. Rejected. H=E

 

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